A Beginner’s Guide to WordPress Plugins

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Without a doubt, one of the biggest advantages of using WordPress is the ability to extend its functionality with the use of plugins. You can practically do anything to better optimize the performance of your blog.

A Beginner’s Guide to WordPress Plugins

From adding a ‘Contact Form’ to creating a ‘Sitemap’ or any feature you can think of, chances are, due to WordPress large community, there are already plugins available if you search google hard enough. You’ll be surprised by the large choices available for you to choose from.

What is a WordPress Plugins?

A plugin is a piece of content that is installed on your site and works with the WP admin panel.

In the context of WordPress, the plugin is an external code written to expand the functionality of WordPress from its purest form. With plugins, you can practically do almost anything you can imagine to your blog.

This is exactly one of the main reason why I switched from Blogger to WordPress. WordPress has a large community and it makes it more worthwhile for a plugin developer to create one that performs a specific function or improve the existing one.

If you are new to WordPress or contemplating to switch side and are not technically-inclined to install the plugin on your own, I just like to assure you that as long as you know how to use FTP to upload any file to your web server, everything else is relatively easy.

WordPress_Plugins

How to Use Add-ons on the WordPress Plugin

Once the plugin is installed and setup, you’ll now have to get used to the add-on system for WordPress. WordPress plugins are simple, plug-in-like tools, able to add new elements to your site. It isn’t as overwhelming, the plugins, if properly set up, provide many tools available to users.

Adding A Custom Element On The WordPress Plugin

The WordPress website allows users to select new, different elements on the site. In addition, users may add a variety of other elements to a site. Each of these components is then placed into individual WordPress-based categories. Each plugin may have numerous options for adding content to WordPress. It can add images, video, icons, custom font styles, colors, etc. By default, no theme will be used in place of a plugin.

You may select your plugins as a base template by placing them into a custom theme folder. Once you choose a theme, you may configure a few options for the different components to work properly with it. Some themes, such as Google’s, include a widget system for additional widgets that are easily configured as well.

Where do you find plugins?

As I mentioned above the best place to find plugins is to google your need. Tips: Search with the keyword wp plugin. This method usually will land you to the developer’s site. Usually, it is where you can find more detailed instructions.

If Google provides no results, WordPress Official Plugin Directory has a large database of all the WordPress plugins which are compatible with WordPress and are better categorized for ease of search. Depending on your specific need, there are literally thousands of plugins for your consideration.

How do you install plugin?

Nowadays the process to install plugin has been simplified into 3 steps. Everything should work out of the box with the exception of some plugins which may require you to make some specific configuration.

1. Download and unzip the plugin
2. Upload the folder (or file usually a php file) to your plugin directory /wp-content/plugins
3. Activate the plugin from your Admin > Plugins
4. If settings are required, go to Admin > Settings and follow the developer’s instructions.

In the event the plugin does not work, all you need to do is to repeat step #3 and deactivate it. It’s that easy. And with the latest WordPress 2.5, upgrading to the latest update to each plugin has been eased further with just one or two clicks.

Points to consider

It is good to note that since the choice plugin is vast and in most cases, there will be two or more plugins that perform the same function, I suggest that you choose a plugin that best serves your blogging need. You need not worry about it messing up the WordPress core code as the plugin normally works independently. If the plugin just doesn’t help you in any way, just deactivate it or delete it completely.

Depending on the complexity of the plugins, some may require you to add an additional line of code to your template file. If that’s the case, please read carefully the readme file that usually accompanies a plugin or go to the developer’s site for more detailed instructions. But before you do anything, please do Backup your template file. Just in case, something goes wrong.

I hope you will find this WordPress Plugin tutorial helpful and if you do have any question with regard to WordPress plugins, please leave yours in the comment section below. On the other hand, I’m open to any suggestion on how to make this guide a better guide. If you do have any feedback, please do let me know. Thank you.

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